Stereophile's Products of 2007 2007 Joint Multichannel Music Components
Audio Research MP1 multichannel preamplifier ($7495; reviewed by Kalman Rubinson, Vol.30 No.9, September 2007 review)
Cary Audio Design Cinema 11 preamplifier-processor ($3000; reviewed by Kalman Rubinson, Vol.30 No.7, July 2007 review)
Runners-up (in alphabetical order)
Bel Canto Design e.One Ref1000 and S300 power amplifiers (Ref1000, $3990/pair; S300, $1495; reviewed by Kalman Rubinson, Vol.29 No.11, November 2006 review)
Classé Audio CA-3200 3-channel power amplifier ($6000; reviewed by Kalman Rubinson, Vol.30 No.2, February 2007 review)
Mark Levinson No.433 3-channel power amplifier ($10,000; reviewed by Kalman Rubinson, Vol.30 No.5, May 2007 review)
NHT Controller preamplifier-processor ($2750; reviewed by Kalman Rubinson, Vol.30 No.1, January 2007 review)
NHT Power5 multichannel power amplifier ($2000; reviewed by Kalman Rubinson, Vol.30 No.1, January 2007 review)
In our multichannel category, the Cary Cinema 11 won the most first-place votes, while the Audio Research MP1 was nominated by the most reviewers. Both components, however, ended up with 11 overall votes and outpaced the runner-up Mark Levinson No.433 by a solid four strides.
First off, Kal was struck by the Cary's simplicity and its clear, distinctive operation—which, I hear, is especially important for those Upper East Side multichannel cats. "This is one digital box that an analog refugee could operate without a paradigm shift," he extolled. On top of that, the Cinema 11's finesse and clarity, and especially its lack of tizz or glare, left Kal "thoroughly infatuated" with its sound.
But it was the all-analog Audio Research MP1 that really lit Kal's cigar. "Y'see?" Kal whooped. "There's still a need for analog multichannel!" The MP1 can accommodate three 5.1-channel inputs and four stereo inputs without having to use an external switch box, and it's that sort of freedom that can make an audiophile sing. "If you're thinking of assembling a single system to do both multichannel and two-channel duties, the Audio Research MP1 would be an ideal choice," said KR. Besides its ease of use and great versatility, the MP1 exhibited a rich, warm, coherent sound that transported Kal to "some unknown but very comfortable space."
As far as we know, he hasn't come back yet.